RENO, NV – Montana and Northern Colorado meat in the first men’s semifinal in the Big Sky Tournament Friday night. They arrived in the showdown in very different ways.
Northern Colorado, the five-seed, blew out four-seed Weber State by 25 points on Thursday. The Bears shot over 50 percent from the field, and over 60 percent from the three-point line.
While the number one Montana Grizzlies had to fight off eight-seed North Dakota in a very close game. But that might actually be good for Montana heading into this matchup.
“You have some convincing wins, and sometimes you want it to be that way all of the time. It’s what you’re used to. We’re human,” said Griz head coach Travis DeCuire after Thursday’s win. “So for us to fight for a win I think was healthy. It was like the streak. (The Griz won 13 games in a row to start conference play). I think we felt invincible. We talked about playing hard, and playing the right way, and all of that. But you’re human, so you still feel like, no, they can’t beat us. So we needed to be slapped in the face to wake up. And I think that a tough game is healthy for us.”
Montana won both meetings with Northern Colorado this season by nine points. They dominated on the inside in both of those games, with Jamar Akoh having a career night in Missoula scoring 34 points, and Fabijan Krslovic having the best night of his season in Greeley with 21 points. If they can get inside again and use their size advantage, that could really be the difference for Montana
The two teams tipoff at 6:30 Mountain Time. Three-seed Eastern Washington takes on surprising 10-seed Southern Utah in the other Big Sky semifinal at 9:00 PM.